Great Britain’s answer to malt liquor is the super lager: industrially brewed, adjunct-laden beasts that attempt to disguise very high percentages of rotgut under a veneer of pilsneresque refreshment. In my review of Mocne, a Polish example of the super lager style, I wrote:
The problem with this style is that it was basically developed to try and answer the demand for beer that will get you drunk fast, slake your thirst, and cost you next to nothing.
In trying to answer this demand, flavor falls by the wayside. The best you can realistically expect from a super lager, is a beer that will give you a buzz after one pint without making you cringe.
Tonight we had a friend over, and he brought over a delightful selection of swill for us to try, including Tennent’s Super and Carlsberg Special Brew. I reached for the Super Skol because I’d never had it before – there was Red Stripe as well, which I like, but I cannot resist an opportunity to try something new. (It’s a compulsion.) As it turns out, Super Skol is just about as good as it gets when it comes to super lagers. It only made me cringe a few times.
Many of these strong European lagers are way more attractive than they need to be, considering most people will just glug them straight out of the can anyway. Skol Super is no exception: clear and sort of amber-gold with a fairly large, sturdy white head. It smells mostly of corn and vodka; the closest thing to praise that I can give it is that it’s not off-putting. Sweet on the palate with sugar and caramel corn, a bit of odd pear-like fruitiness, and a medicinal surge of alcohol, which makes up almost a tenth of the beer’s volume. Dry and soapy in the finish with a quinine-like aftertaste.
It’s not bad for what it is, really, but it’s still a good reminder that I should just save my money and my liver and drink better beer. The can virtuously orders: “ENJOY RESPONSIBLY.” Is that even possible?